18 March 2012

Phyllo fanatics' fresh fixation

Sometimes, the very thought of phyllo pastries (made of phyllo dough, filo, phyllo pastry leaves, börek, pâte phyllo, etc) makes my arteries preemptively clog up, or my blood pressure spike.

Often in Greek and Middle Eastern traditions, each fine layer of fragile dough is slathered with melted butter or oil to make them crispy, often resulting in rich, flaky, rich and deliciously full-bodied, and buttery rich (my heart just hiccuped writing that).

However, at Melina's Phyllo Bar, your heart can rest easy: the pastries here are ace, and perfectly crispy without being overly oily.

Following our intense ninja vampire-hunter training, my buddy Leo and I headed over to this cozy shop in the armpit heart of Mile-End to fill our tummies.

[Leek pie (prasopita), it's vegan, but all Greek to me! Wakka-wakka....]

Here, phyllo pastries are treated like members of the royalty — adored as the centre of attention, yet unassuming and delicate; both the savoury and sweet fillings are tasty. The phyllo is slightly thicker than store-bought phyllo, but if you've ever tried to make phyllo, you know it's the work of a demon spawn... Joanna, the amazors co-proprietor, says it's a secret recipe for which she pretty much has exclusivity   and not made commercially, so suck it to all those creeping restaurateurs looking to try to muscle in on Melina's phyllo. She's got two armed ninja bodyguards watching over her!

[Spanakopita: feta and spinach and half-eaten, thanks to Leo.]

[Background: photo collage of Melina Mercouri, the modern muse of Greece and also shop's inspiration. Oh, and Leo in the foreground, burping.]

[Leo tried to hide the entire bougatsa (semolina custard pastry) in her mouth from the prying eyes of pedestrians on Parc avenue. It worked.]

After the pastries are all hidden in your stomach, you can chase it all down with a variety of espresso-based drinks. I chose to wash my phyllo pastries down with a Greek soda concoction called Ivi (owned by Pepsico, of course); Melina's is the first in this province to carry this product.

[Ivi uncarbonated orangeade, a taste of nostalgia. Remember when you had school events, and they always served that orange drink from the giant yellow and red drink dispenser cooler from McDonald's? That's what Ivi is, and it brings a tear to my eye.]

Chow and Leo ninja-refuelling rating for Melina's = 4 ninja stars.

Melina's Phyllo Bar
5733 ave. du Parc
(514) 270-1675 

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